A protest has been held at Burton railway station over the rising prices of train fares. The Office for National Statistics announced on Tuesday, August 16, that rail fares would be rising by up to 3.6 per cent in the new year.
The Government connected the annual January rise in Britain’s regulated fares with the previous July’s retail price index measure of inflation. These regulated fares make up roughly half of all tickets, including season tickets and standard returns.
Workers from the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport, the RMT protested across the country for roughly two hours at a number of stations, including in Burton.
Protesters were at the entrance to Burton railway station to intercept commuters as they went in and out of the station.
They handed them postcards, with details of their demands which could be sent to their respective MPs, asking them not to cut fares or staff.
William Walker, one of the protestors at Burton railway station claimed: "In Britain we have the highest train fares in Europe and this is a direct result of privatisation of our railways where private companies seek to make money out of 'rip-off' fares while then cutting back on services.
"At the same time as cutting services, removing the role of the guard from the trains. We believe that all trains should have a guard on the train in a full safety critical role and all ticket offices should be kept open at all times.
"When the East Coast mainline was in public hands, they turned over £100 million for the taxpayer. That’s the model we want to see rolled out across the network.
"East Coast trains had the best performance ratings on the network when it was in public ownership, so our message is clear; to keep all staff on the railway and to keep the guards on the train, to keep the trains safe. But at the same time to see fares cut through nationalisation of our railways."
The Government has said that fare increases are justified due to improvements to the network.
A spokesperson from the Department of Transport said: "We are investing in the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century to improve services for passengers – providing faster and better trains with more seats.
"We have always fairly balanced the cost of this investment between the taxpayer and the passenger."
How could the rising ticket prices impact commuters from Burton?
The figure of a 3.6 per cent rise in fares is being thrown about, but what does that actually mean for those travelling from Burton railway station?
Well, based on current train fares to buy a ticket, leaving at around 7.30am on the morning of a working, weekday, a current single fare for someone commuting to Derby is £7.40, which will rise to £7.67.
A 27p increase may not seem so dramatic, but that is a little over £70 a year.
For those travelling a bit farther a field, fares will naturally increase. For those heading to the capital of Wales, Cardiff, you will pay £73.80 for the please at the moment, which will increase by £2.66 to £76.46, or if you want to stay to England and head to London St Pancras will be charged an extra £3.38 on top of the already £94 fare - that's the price of a large Cappucinno from Costa.